Rockingham’s Renault UK Clio Cup rounds threw up a number of surprise results, so take a bow George Jackson, Rory Collingbourne and Rory Green as well as Josh Price and Luke Kidsley. Meanwhile defeat for Ash Hand means that for another year at least Dave Newsham’s record for most wins in a season is safe…
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Two races full of drama and some attrition were all that Cooksport duo Collingbourne and Jackson and WDE Motorsport’s Green needed for the best results to date in their young Clio Cup careers. In race one Collingbourne took fourth, Green fifth and Jackson sixth.

On the Sunday it got even better for Jackson with a fourth place finish – he briefly ran as high as third after passing championship leader Hand – and a maiden victory in the Graduates Cup class for younger drivers.

Team Pyro’s Josh Price also made waves on his Clio Cup debut in Saturday’s race with a fine seventh overall – a position that fellow newcomer Kidsley took for JamSport Racing in Sunday’s encounter.

All this after WDE’s Charlie Ladell and JamSport’s Tom Grundy had set personal bests in qualifying – Ladell was fifth on the grid for both races, Grundy sixth for Sunday’s start. The king of qualifying, though, was Hand whose pole position time of 1m29.259s in his Team Pyro car smashed the previous record set by Jack Goff (1m29.904s) in 2012 on his way to the title that year…

Sunday’s race of course saw Ant Whorton-Eales get back to winning ways with his first victory since Donington’s Park fourth round of the season way back in April. Notably his win was also the first in the Clio Cup for the recently formed Maximum Motorsport team (only its second event in the championship in fact).

While he was able to scarper away to win at leisure, it had been a very different case on Saturday for eventual winner Ashley Sutton who had to work hard to fend off team-mate Hand for most of the race.

Hand had arrived at Rockingham with seven wins including three in a succession which had meant he still stood a chance of beating British Touring Car star Newsham’s record of 12 wins in a season (Newsham achieved that figure en route to 2010’s Clio Cup crown). But at Rockingham – and for the first time since Brands Hatch in April if ever proof was needed just how strong a season he has enjoyed so far – Hand left a race weekend without a win meaning the most he can hope for now is 11… Saturday also marked the first time this year he had finished a race in second position.

For the record, Whorton-Eales’s winning margin on the Saturday of 8.434s is not the biggest gap between first and second place at the line in 2015 – that was achieved by Sutton in race one at Croft in June when he built up a cushion of 8.786s before taking the chequered flag. On both occasions the man who came second in those two races was WDE’s Paul Rivett…

Lights-to-flag wins for ‘AWE’ and BMR Restart-backed Sutton have boosted their laps and miles led tallies for the season, but it is Hand who remains some way out in front still in both those charts (see below).

Current Clio Cup stats after round 14, Rockingham:

Pole Positions
8 Ash Hand
3 Ashley Sutton
2 Ant Whorton-Eales
1 Paul Rivett

7 Ash Hand
3 Ant Whorton-Eales & Ashley Sutton
1 Paul Rivett

2nd Places
6 Ashley Sutton
4 Ant Whorton-Eales
3 Paul Rivett
1 Ash Hand

3rd Places
6 Ash Hand
3 Ant Whorton-Eales
2 Paul Rivett, Jordan Stilp
1 Jack Mitchell

Fastest Laps
6 Ash Hand
4 Ant Whorton-Eales
3 Ashley Sutton
1 Paul Rivett

Laps Led (out of 206)
86 Ash Hand
59 Ashley Sutton
49 Ant Whorton-Eales
12 Paul Rivett

Miles Led (out of 382.7491)
153.657 Ash Hand
104.7803 Ashley Sutton
97.5998 Ant Whorton-Eales
26.712 Paul Rivett